Even though I grew up in Massachusetts, I always felt more at home during my 10 year stay in New Orleans, where people are much quicker to befriend you, to share with you and to take you as you are. I have discussed this with friends who share a similar experience having lived on the West Coast, and though we agree, it is easier to BE in these other places, there is a unique benefit brought on by this colder New England attitude. When you have to work harder to build a friendship, it tends to be based on a more genuine shared set of beliefs and lifestyle.
That brings me to my dear friend Lisa, who called me last week and asked if I was interested in fermenting some cabbage, so we could experiment together with producing our own home-made probiotics. Of course I said yes, and was responsible for bringing our "software", cabbage, jalapenos, garlic, carrots, while she provided the "hardware", mason jars, fancy salt and a suite of complicated slicing appliances.
At her gorgeous water view property she rents in Aquinnah, we pressed, squeezed and crushed the salt into the cabbage with our bare hands, releasing its liquid, all while watching a sleepy mid week sunset over Vineyard Sound, out past the Elizabethan Islands. Lisa is in Florida this week, so I am on call to "burp" the jars, letting the juices rise higher and higher. They fizzled and bubbled this morning, as a totally offensive odor poured into my kitchen (I've got them stashed in a dark corner cabinet). We're hoping for a major transformation in the next week, for a result that's more "pickled" than "rotten".
After 5 years on the island, I have built some rewarding friendships that I know will endure, season after season. Especially in this prolonged winter, I am super thankful to have a fermentation partner to keep my mind busy and with whom I can share this simple, slightly hippy, island lifestyle.
Rose Ryley Courcier